by: Tom Regan Updated:ATLANTA —
A new audit suggests that each year, the city of Atlanta loses hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs due to theft or misuse.
The audit, conducted by City Auditor Leslie Ward, was undertaken to determine whether the office that operates Atlanta's fleet of city vehicles, trucks and other equipment has established adequate controls to prevent and detect the misuse of city fuel. The audit concluded that Atlanta’s loss rate is above the average 3 percent found in corporate fleet fuel budgets.
"Given the weak control environment, it is likely the city is experiencing a higher percentage of fuel loss due to theft," said Ward.
As an example, the audit cited 3,600 user identification numbers in the fuel program that did not match the list of current city employees. In one case, $66,500 in fuel was dispensed using a retired employee's ID.
The audit recommended the city update all operator IDs for employees authorized to obtain fuel. In addition, it suggests investing in radio frequency vehicle identification and changes to limit the amount of fuel dispenses per fueling per day. The audit says such improved controls could save the city $320,000 in annual fuel costs.
The commissioner of the Public Works, which oversees fleet fueling operations, told Channel 2's Tom Regan there was no evidence in the audit that employees were filling up private vehicles at city fueling stations. But he said changes are under way to reduce loss or fuel inefficiencies.
"There are measures that we can take, and we have taken to maintain controls over our fuel dispensing," said Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza.